Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Interview With Hijarbie Creator Haneefah Adam

Below is author Umm Zakiyyah's interview with Haneefah Adam, creator of Hijarbie.

  1. Please tell us a little about yourself: your ethnicity and nationality, family background, where you grew up, and where you live now.

My name is Haneefah Adam, I'm a Nigerian. I am a Masters degree holder in Pharmacology and Drug Discovery from Coventry University, UK. I come from a Muslim family of 6. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria but grew up in Ilorin. I currently live in Ilorin, Nigeria now.
  1. What were your hobbies as a child? Did you play with the traditional Barbie? In your view, how important is it for children to see themselves reflected in books, toys, and television/movies? Please explain.

As a child, I usually scribbled more. I was also into reading (with lots of pictures), drawing, painting and sculpture. And I had parents who recognised and acknowledged that talent and were quiet supportive. I actually did not play with Barbie. It is important to provide a sense of normalcy for children while they grow up, in their inquisitive years, they might wonder why they don't look like some certain people, they need to understand why they look or dress different than others and appreciate diversity while still identifying and acknowledging their own roots.
Instagram @hijarbie
Instagram screenshot @hijarbie
  1. When did the idea of Hijarbie first come about? What was the inspiration behind it? Is creating a “Muslim Barbie” something that you dreamed of since childhood? Or is this something that developed over time? Please explain.

The idea occurred to me when I realised that I haven't really seen a barbie doll dressed up in hijab before. I was still studying then and I decided to think and pray about it for a while before deciding to start documenting my own hijabi dressed up doll. I never really dreamed about it since childhood or developed it over time because I was a different kind of artist. I started developing interest for sewing when I was 13 and only made paper dresses before then.
  1. How has hijab shaped your own life? How did your experience with hijab shape your visions for Hijarbie? What role did your own faith play in creating a Barbie that Muslim girls can relate to?

I grew up wearing the hijab and have been since I was a little girl, I understood it was part of my faith and keeps me in check most of the time while also providing a unique Identity for me. With hijarbie, I'm trying to create a personality for her on the social media pages in her outfits, where she would hopefully inspire her followers positively. Because my faith is an integral part of my lifestyle, it has to reflect in most things I do, which in turn is manifesting in Hijarbie. In so doing, choosing to cover up is an integral part of faith and it being reflected in toys will provide a sense of belonging.
  1. For Hijarbie, how did you come up with the styles of clothing? Are you a fashion designer? If so, please tell us a little more about your work in fashion and clothes design.

I'm a self taught designer, I love making dresses and started showing interest in them over 10 years ago. Hijarbie's outfit are inspired by normal everyday looks of a Muslim girl which are all hand made by me. A lot of themes will crop up in the nearest future in sha Allah. I currently own and run a modest lifestyle brand, Hanie, where we will be selling modest outfits, accessories and expand to home accessories as well.
Instagram @hijarbie
Instagram screenshot @hijarbie
  1. What have been the greatest challenges in creating Hijarbie? How did you overcome them? In your view, what challenges remain?

I didn't have access to premium dolls to work with when I wanted to create her and couldn't find more diversified skin tones. Islam cuts across different races and it would be reflected on the page. That problem is being currently worked on. I think my location is a big issue, because I can't readily purchase accessories or other vital items online.
  1. Your Twitter profile mentions that you are a blogger and medical scientist. Can you tell us a little more about your blogging and medical science background? Do you see the creation of Hijarbie as related to your love for blogging and medical science? If so, how?

I blog at and it was an outlet I created during my gap year after my first degree. My works documented there reflect my various interests in food, fashion, faith and arts and crafts. I'm also academically trained as a medical scientist having studied Physiology and then Pharmacology and Drug discovery. As a person, I love to create and especially read which is closely related to research, so I think everything I do and love are a reflection of that.
  1. In your view, is Hijarbie for non-Muslim children too? Do you believe dolls like Hijarbie can help non-Muslim children (and adults) relate better to Muslims? Do you believe dolls like Hijarbie can help build religious understanding worldwide and counter Islamophobia? If so, how? If not, why not?

I feel hijarbie is for everyone that is willing to accept other people's unique identity. It is about understanding muslims and seeing us for what we truly are and not what a lot of wrong misconceptions are breeding. Islam does not support terrorism or most form of negativity but always encourages good character ultimately. I hope by continuing to run the page, hijarbie might be able to correct a few misconceptions while also being 'herself'.
  1. How have people's reactions been to Hijarbie? Do you find them to be overwhelmingly positive? How so?

There has been a lot of positive feedback to hijarbie. Its a hit with a lot of parents who wants it for their kids and older people who wish they had an hijab wearing one while growing up.
  1. How and where can we learn more about your work, and where can we buy Hijarbie (or Hijarbie clothing for Barbie dolls)? Is the doll available worldwide?

There is a website we are currently working on which will go up soon, in sha Allah, but the bulk of the updates will be in the instagram page. The doll will be available for shipping worldwide once we start selling in sha Allah. And we hope to bring in stockists along the way as well.

The terrible threes and how to cope with it

Parenting tips

As my son reaches three years old, his “bad” behavior has started to show. He has started yelling and getting angry easily and he loves antagonistic movie characters. So, I evaluated our behavior as parents and his surroundings, and came up with a few solutions.

I also shared this issue on my Instagram account and received numerous responses from mothers with the same problem. I started reading articles and books, and also talked to a child psychologist and friends. It turns out that this is a totally normal phase, and most kids will go through it. As a matter of fact, this development is actually good for his well-being as it will shape him into a more confident character. It is our job to guide him.

Since lots of parents are facing this problem, I would like to share some tips that I know are kind of a cliché, but actually worked for my 3 year old:

Emphasize positive words

As we become emotional when we see our child acting up, we start saying things that we do not actually mean. Take a deep breath and choose your words wisely.

So for instance, if your child makes a scene in a public place, instead of saying “Stop yelling!” it is better to say “Can you please talk quietly?”. I often forget to do this too; it takes practice and persistence. However, on days I remember to do this, he tends to behave better and listen more.


Because he is 3 years old, I am teaching him a lot of new stuff that frustrates him such as putting on his own shoes and clothes. He yells every time I tell him to do it. “I can’t do it myself, I want you to do it for me!” over and over again.

At times when I am in a hurry, I’ll do it for him. This sends out mixed signals. He thinks, “If I yell a little, mum will do it for me, so why should I do it myself?”. Therefore, my solution is to get ready earlier, allowing around 15 minutes of spare time. This way we are not in a hurry and don’t get frustrated when he starts yelling.

After a few weeks of being consistent, he is willing to put on his shoes and clothes himself without being told.

Yell less, love more

Easier said than done, I know. But when you explain to them the situation and your expectations, they will be more likely to listen.

We often treat children like children, whereas we should just explain to them as if they understand, because they do. Start talking when they stop yelling or crying. Do not try to talk over his tantrums, as that would be useless.

Let him finish crying, then ask him why is he upset, tell him why you are upset, and what you expect of him. Surprisingly, it works. I know it will be hard at first, especially in public places, but once you get the hang of it, it will make your life so much easier.


Still in relation to the above advice: Hugging is the best solution. Research show that kids who receive more positive contact and affection during their childhood will be more likely to grow up kinder and smarter.

I don’t know whether it’s true or not, but choosing love over hatred makes a lot of sense to me.

Last but not least: Positive example

In theory, we know the drill. But in reality, we often forget that we yell and we complain when we get frustrated, and we give up easily when solving problems ( by we, I mean me ).

We do all those things probably not to our child, but in front of him. Therefore, once you become a parent, don’t forget that someone is watching your every movement.

Dear women, here are 6 tricks for always looking elegant and classy

Love Tips

You have a lot of things to do, a family to take care of and perhaps seemingly never-ending responsibilities. You need to get them all done well and on time, but you never want to look anything less than perfect. How can you manage this?

Nikkie Plessen, Dutch fashion designer and owner of NIKKIE fashion brand in Galeries Lafayette, Pacific Place, Central Jakarta. Although she was on a tight schedule and needed to catch a flight, she managed to share some stories about her current collection as well as tips for women on how to effortlessly look elegant and classy.

Tailored pants

Don’t go for the size you want, go for what fits on your body. In general, whether it's pants or clothes, choose what reflects your body size. If you want to, it is better to have it a little bit bigger than your size rather than too small.

Tailored pants will not only flatter your body shape, but will also look classy because they go well with many kinds of shoes; be it ballet flats, sneakers or high heels.

Look at your skin color

Pick clothes that fit well with your skin color or tone. To look for the right color, you can just use colored paper at home and take a look at yourself in the mirror alongside it.

Look for the colors that compliment you, the ones that make you look brighter or that add some color to your skin. This is important because different colors create a different effect for everyone, as in not every person will look good in bright red and not everyone will be flattered by deep blue.

Pay attention to your body shape

The right shaped clothes can help to make you look even better, so it is important to pay attention to your body shape and look for the clothes that will help you create a more charming look.

For example, you may want to consider using high-waisted pants or skirts that fit your abdomen comfortably if you want to hide your stomach.

Look for what you really like

Rather than following the trends or looking at the books, go for a style that you really like.

Nikkie emphasized that it is very important for someone to choose a style that they really want because when someone is comfortable in their clothes, it shows through their eyes and it makes them more attractive.

Look for fabric that doesn’t wrinkle easily

Sometimes, although a design and a fabric look good, it wrinkles as soon as you sit down. This won’t do, so when shopping for clothes, try wrinkling the fabric first and look at how fast it gets back to its original shape.

Good fabric will get back into shape faster.

Always pack your ballet flats

Nikkie said to take your ballet flats with you everywhere, as she herself does. Ballerina shoes, or ballet flats, are good to wear after a long day at work; at that moment when you want to slip off your tiring heels and escape your tiring work.

Keep in mind that though it is important to look good, it is also important to be comfortable.

8 things to avoid wearing on a first date

Love, Tips, Date Tips

There are unspoken fashion rules for women when it comes to first dates, as it is best to look comfortable and not try too hard to impress. Here is a list of fashion no-no’s for first dates.

Revealing too much skin

Make sure you wear comfortable clothes that reflect your personality and leave something to the imagination by not showing too much.

High heels

While it’s nice to be confident in heels, height can make men feel intimidated, especially if your date is shorter than you. Opt for lower heels or flat shoes as wearing flip flops can be too casual.

Granny panties

While it’s advisable not to go too far on a first date, wearing granny panties is too comfortable. Wearing sexy underwear, however, can boost your confidence.

Brightly colored clothes

On a first date, both you and your date will want to see if there are any sparks. Wearing brightly colored clothes could draw too much attention from other people, making both of you feel uncomfortable. You don't want to be spotted by people you know who'll come over to your table and interrupt your date, right?

Colorful accessories

The same rule applies to accessories too. Wearing accessories that are too colorful can be as distracting as wearing too many. A simple but memorable accessory is better. For example, try to avoid wearing a big crescent necklace, but wear round earrings for a lasting impression.

New clothes and shoes

We know how much you want to impress your date, but buying a new dress or shoes is definitely unnecessary. First, because it's a waste of money. Second, a new dress or shoes could be uncomfortable to wear and your date might think you don't feel comfortable being with them.

Heavy make-up

Men claim they like a natural look, so avoid heavy make-up. Let your real character shine through so your date can decide whether you're their dream woman or not. Some men actually love women with make-up, but try not to let it hide your real face.

Strong perfume

Scents leave a strong and lasting impression of someone, but if you don’t want to make your date feel dizzy and ruin your chance of getting to know each other more, refrain from wearing too much perfume. Just spray a bit on your wrist and neck, and chances are your date will remember you better.